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3 Approaches to Email Marketing for a Book Launch

Incorporating email marketing into your book launch plan is one of the smartest things you can do as an author. This incredibly powerful tactic is not only cost-effective, but it also has the potential to produce a crazy high return on your investment.

When you first engage in email marketing, you’ll discover there are three main types of email campaigns you can create, namely e-newsletters, email blasts, and autoresponders.

In this post, we’ll take a look at each approach and how you can employ them for your own book launches.

1. The Email Newsletter

Like its physical counterpart, an email newsletter is a publication sent to subscribers at regular intervals. Content varies with each edition, and although there may be some sales promotion, the focus is generally on providing information. This can be a good channel of communication for authors who want to keep their subscribers updated on the latest happenings. It’s also great for building brand recognition and awareness.

In the context of a book launch, an e-newsletter is an ideal space to include details regarding your latest book release or a special deal only available to newsletter subscribers. However, it’s important to note that the newsletter isn’t about your launch alone. The downside to this is that your launch message will be competing with all the other content, links, and media you decide to include. Whether an email newsletter fits into your campaign and is a tactic you can maintain over the long term is something you’ll need to decide for yourself, but you’ll be happy to know that many email clients now offer beautiful newsletter templates to make the process easy.

2. The Email Blast

An email blast refers to a single email sent to your entire list at once. It usually contains a special promotional message, critical update, or specific call-to-action with nothing else inside to divert attention from its goal.

Let’s say, for example, you’re in the initial stages of planning your first book launch campaign and you want to find out specific information about your readership. You might decide that a survey is the best way to do that. Email copy for this single request might look like this:

Subject: Can I ask you something?

Hey [name],

I’m trying to learn more about my readers and what interests them, so I was wondering if you could help me out by taking a short survey. It’ll take less than two minutes and I’d be really grateful for your time.

Here’s the link: [insert survey link]

Thanks so much in advance!

[Your name]

If you want to increase response rates for a call-to-action like this, you could tie your request to an incentive. Ultimately, email blasts are perfect for those once-off deals and informational broadcasts or requests you want to send out to your entire readership while maximizing the reach of your message.

3. The Autoresponder Sequence

An autoresponder sequence is a series of strategic, pre-planned, pre-written emails that automatically send to subscribers at pre-determined times. You only set up the sequence once within your email client, and then you’re done. While the goal of each sequence will be different, autoresponders are excellent for keeping leads warm and your author brand in front of subscribers.

Think about a time when you exchanged your email address for a free ebook download, newsletter, template, webinar, or resource. As soon as you hit the submit button, you became a subscriber to that company or person’s email list and most likely triggered an autoresponder sequence that starts with a “welcome” or “thanks for downloading” message. This initial email is then followed by a series of emails that offer valuable advice, tips, and helpful content based on the freebie that enticed you to subscribe in the first place. The series can be sent over days, weeks, or even months depending on the number of emails in the sequence. Usually, the last or second to last email consists of a relevant offer.

A “welcome” sequence typically looks something like this:

Welcome message -> Content -> Content -> Content -> Promotional Offer

Or…

Welcome message -> Content -> Content -> Content -> Promotional Offer -> Reminder of Promotional Offer

The content of these emails can consist of anything from reading recommendations, character breakdowns, and free reading materials to deeper insights into your work, background info on you as an author, and answers to frequently asked questions. The more value you add with each interaction, the more likely subscribers are to pre-order your book, purchase previous publications, and spread the word about your launch.

You don’t just have to limit your email marketing to an autoresponder sequence following a new signup, though. You can set up an email series at any time during your launch process. They’re perfect for gradually leaking the news about your book and building excitement for release day.

Now that we’ve addressed the three approaches to email marketing, let’s delve into the creation of autoresponder sequences and how to use them for your launch effectively.

How to create your own autoresponder series in four simple steps:

Step 1: Choose a goal for your campaign. Do you want to grow a street team, generate pre-orders, increase book sales, or achieve something equally as relevant? Whatever your goal is, your autoresponder copy should be geared towards that specific outcome.

Step 2: Determine how many emails you need and the timing of your campaign. Besides deciding when you need to set it up during your launch, you need to figure out the frequency of your emails. As you test, track, and monitor campaign success, you’ll be able to determine what works for your particular audience. Just be sure to keep your author brand top of mind.

Step 3: Plot and craft your entire sequence. Besides creating a campaign for new subscribers, consider crafting an email sequence to announce, promote, and then unveil your book. A sequence of this nature might follow a structure similar to this:

Email 1 – A pre-announcement or book teaser

Email 2 – An introduction to your book that sparks interest without giving too much away

Email 3 – A free chapter, cover reveal, or behind-the-scenes content

Email 4 – The unveiling of your book along with purchase links and a strong call-to-action

The fourth email in this sequence would be set to send on launch day with the preceding emails scheduled to send accordingly. The key to any successful email sequence is to keep interest high. You want people to understand why your book is the book they want, so be sure to plot your email copy wisely.

Step 4: Set up your email sequence. At this point, you might be wondering how to capture those prized email addresses and deliver your email copy to subscribers automatically. For that, you need reliable email marketing software like Aweber or MailChimp. These services allow you to store captured leads, send bulk email, segment and manage your lists, create email signup forms, store complementary content that might form part of your email sequence, e-newsletter, or email blast, and more. You can also view your email tracking and analytics to monitor the success of a particular campaign. Although there are plenty of service providers to choose from, Aweber and MailChimp are not only user-friendly and inexpensive, but they’re also legally compliant, helping you abide by anti-spam laws.

When all is said and done, email marketing can be a cash machine if you do it right. If you’re serious about establishing a career as an author, take control now and start figuring out how you’ll use emails to drive engagement and sales during your launch. You’ll be grateful when release day comes for this book and your next.

If you have a question about email marketing during a book launch, be sure to leave it in the comment section below. We also encourage you to subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss out on future book launch and email marketing posts. As a bonus, download our free book launch success checklist by clicking the banner below.



  • Jim O’Brien

    Excellent post, Thanks. Question, how do you personalize bulk emails by including first names of the receivers?

    • Book Marketing Tools

      Hey Jim… each mailing list service has their own way of doing it, but here’s a general break down:

      1) You need to collect the First Name during signup…
      2) You’ll include what’s called a “merge tag” which is what Aweber and MailChimp call it in their service. You put something in like {first.name} in the email text, then the service inserts each person’s first name where that tag goes.

      As each site had different tags, and codes, and such, you’ll want to read the documentation or reach out to support on your specific email list provider.

  • Jim O’Brien

    Thank you for the explanation. Very helpful, appreciate it

  • Dainis

    Thank you for such hands-on advice!
    Are Mailchimp and Awerber really the best options for authors? I have heard divided opinions about this. I attended writers conference recently and got to know that there are some more appropriate services – smaller, with more available paid plans and with lots of functionality. Have you heard of any of them? Like Mailerlite (https://www.mailerlite.com/authors ) and Convertkit – these are the two I remember. I started using Mailerlite and am very impressed with the service while I know my colleagues went with Convertkit and also are having no trouble at all.